Alcohol Addiction Beats Heroin as Maine’s Top Addiction Crisis
Although there is no denying the heft of the opioid problem in the state of Maine, there is something to be said for the number of people in need of treatment for alcohol addiction.
According to the Maine Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, in 2014 alone, 2,538 people entered treatment for heroin or opioid abuse. In contrast, alcohol was the number one substance for which residents sought treatment for, rolling at about 3,589 people. Additionally, it is estimated that 1 in 7 residents in the state of Maine needed effective alcohol addiction treatment and did not receive it.
Alcohol Addiction Doesn’t Get The Attention It Needs
The state has also had to face numerous hurdles in how to help these thousands of people to seek treatment and get better. Because alcohol is a legal substance, it doesn’t get the same amount of spotlight compared to harder drugs like heroin or morphine.
“The opiate epidemic has sucked all the oxygen out of the room,” Dr. Mark Publicker said. “When we talk about addiction treatment, there’s never a mention about treatment for alcohol.”
Lack of Alcohol Addiction Treatment
In addition, there is currently a lack of treatment options due to a shortage of treatment and detox facilities. This was made even worse by the closure of Mercy Hospital’s Addiction Recovery Center last year. Before it closed, Mercy Hospital helped people statewide to detox and recover from drug and alcohol abuse. Now there are only a handful of treatment centers available across the state, including Maine General Medical Center (Augusta), St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center (Lewiston), and Milestone Foundation (Portland).
In addition to a lack of treatment options, many people don’t have insurance or can’t afford to pay out of pocket for substance addiction treatment.
Alcohol is a drug. It’s addictive and severe alcohol abuse can cause health complications that ultimately lead to death. Precaution should be taken and educational materials that present alcoholism in this light should be made available to the general public and promoted in the same way the heroin or cocaine addiction would be.
Finding Alcohol Addiction Treatment That Works
Unfortunately, there is a lack of reliable and effective treatment resources, not only in Maine but also across the whole country. While most people who struggle with an addiction would prefer to find a rehab treatment center close to home, experts in the industry believe that receiving substance addiction treatment away from home can actually work more in your favor.
“After a week or two, every client goes through the same process,” states Jessica Abiecunas, intake manager at The Discovery House addiction treatment center in Southern California. “The drugs and/or alcohol are getting out of their system. They’re beginning to feel a little bit better physically, but now they’re feeling emotions they haven’t been feeling for a long time. They no longer have the tools to handle those emotions. This is the point in their treatment when they enter flight mode. ‘I feel better, I’ve got to go. It’s time for me to leave.’ If they’re in a facility close to home, the ability to leave is very simple. They walk out the door and call the dope dealer who comes to pick them up and the downward spiral begins again.”
The Discovery House is located in sunny Southern California and we help people from all over the country find a lasting and healthy lifestyle that is addiction free. They accept most PPO insurance policies, private-pay, and we also offer a variety of lending options for those who need it.